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History

Inauguration of Ali (a.s.) as Caliph.

Next morning (on the fourth day after Osman's murder), the people assembled in large numbers in the peat mosque. Here Ali made his appearance clad in a simple cotton gown and a coarse turban wound round his head and carrying a bow in his right hand and in the left hand his slippers which he had taken off in reverence for the place. Talha and Zubeir not being present, he caused them to be sent for. When they came, they offered him their hands in approbation of his election as Caliph. tut Ali paused and said to them that if they were sincere in their hearts they might do him fealty in good earnest assuring them at the same time that if either of them would accept the Caliphate, he was quite willing to swear fealty with perfect sincerity and would be glad rather to serve as an adviser than to take the government upon himself.

This, however, both of them declined, and expressing their perfect satisfaction, stretched forth their hands to pay homage to Ali. Talha's right arm was maimed as a result of a wound he had received in the battle of Ohad, and therefore could stretch it forth with difficulty. As he was the first to begin with the ceremony, the audience took it as an evil omen and a by-stander remarked: 'It is likely to be a lame business that is begun with a lame hand.' The presage proved only too true as subsequent events showed. The assemblage then swore allegiance to Ali and their example was followed by the general public. None of the Umayyads and the immediate adherents of Osman came in, nor did Ali press any one to come and do fealty to him.

There were also some prominent men in Medina who kept themselves aloof, being disinclined to pay homage to Ali. These were according to Mas'udi, Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas, Maslama b. Khalid. Moghira b. Shoba, Qidama b. Matzun, Wahban b. Saifi, Abdallah b. Salam, Hassan b. Thabit, Kab. b. Malik, Abu Sa'id Khudri, Mohammed b. Maslama, and Abdallalh 1 b. Omar, Fidzala b. Abeed, Kab b. Ajza; Habib-al-Siyar adds: Zaid b. Thabit, Osama b. Zaid, Abu Musa Ashari, Zaid b. Rafe, Salma b. Salama, Sohaib b. Sinan, Noman b. Bashir; Tabari adds: Rafe b. Khadij. These people were named Motazilities.

Having done homage to Ali, the insurgents returned to their homes.

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1 Mas'udi assails the character of Abdalla'h b. Omar by his keeping himself from paying homage to Caliph Ali and later on swearing allegiance to Yazid b. Moawiya as Caliph, and again to Abd al Malik b. Marwa'n.

Adapted from: "Ali, the Magnificent" by: "Yousuf N. Lalljee"